Originally posted 5 January 2005
I would like to offer my heartfelt sympathies for the many in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, and other countries of Southeast Asia that have lost loved ones and livelihoods, homes and possessions, in the earthquake and resulting tsunami December 26, 2004. Our website has been viewed many times by people in the area. Know that we have prayed for you. Our extended family has lost a couple of members in the last couple of months as well, so when we say that we know how you feel, they aren't empty words. The magnitude is no where near as large as what you are feeling, but the loss is there.
Some would ask "Why us?"
The pastor preached a sermon from Amos 3 and Amos 4 last Sunday, and will continue with a study of that book in the weeks to come. In it, the prophet Amos is speaking out against the actions of the people of Israel. The key points that relate to the Tsunami are seen in Amos 4:6-11. There, He speaks of giving one city sufficient water to drink and another drought so that those of the dry city would wander in search of water and not be satisfied. He speaks of giving one area rain for crops and another drought. When that doesn't bring His people back to Him, He speaks of the pestilence He has sent among the crops, the locusts to devour the crops, the young men that have died in battle, the horses He has killed. Each verse ends with "yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD."
Had God not talked with Abraham before destroying Sodom and Gomorrah, would the righteous have been destroyed along with the wicked? Probably so. Good people frequently get caught in the middle. When God sent the drought in a region of Israel in the Old Testament, I suspect that there were some good people affected there. When the people of Israel went to battle and many died, I suspect that there were some good people who lost their lives in those battles as well. But the people still didn't return to God, so His prodding of the nation as a whole continued.
So many, many people around the world have not returned unto God. They live all over. They are in the United States, Canada, and Europe. They are in Central and South America, Africa, the Middle East, and yes Asia. Last month, the disaster was in Southeast Asia. Last year and continuing this year, the young men of the United States, Iraq, and others are dying in battle and terrorist attacks. Australia is fighting fires. California is getting drenched with rain and mudslides. Much of the Midwest is blanketed with snow. I just got through shoveling another 6 inches off of our driveway. Estimates I have seen say 9,000 die of AIDS each day. 1 million will die of malaria this year. This year, other places will feel the increasing wrath of God. Why? Because the majority of the people have not returned unto God.
I have said in previous messages that I believe the time of Christ's return is soon. I still feel that. I have also said over and over that even if I am wrong about that, you never know when you will die and have to meet God face to face. Praise be to God that in His mercy He didn't allow the earthquake to occur a few hours earlier when everyone in the region was asleep. So many, many more people would have been lost. But as it was, those who died didn't wake up that morning knowing that it was their last day. Some were working... some were on the beach... some were eating breakfast in hotels... most were planning a wonderful day. It was business and pleasure as usual.
None knew that for just a few seconds off the coast of Sumatra, the Earth had slipped between two plates with a dreadful sudden force and that a tsunami was racing toward them at jet engine speed. None knew that a tremendous amount of water was about to hit and sweep them away. Are you ready should something happen to you today? If not, accept Jesus Christ as your Savior right now. Don't put it off any longer. Stop following the gods and idols of this world - whether an Eastern religion, or the money, power, and lusts of the West. If there is anything you put above God, you need to get right with Him today. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the light. No man will come to the Father except through Him!
Many doubt the disasters prophesied in Revelation will happen. How could so many die at once? Well, 295,000 or more just died from an earthquake of a few seconds duration. Don't doubt that the post rapture cataclysmic prophesies of Revelation will occur. The natural disasters following the rapture will overwhelm the relief organizations. The disorganization of the relief effort for the tsunami victims will look like a well oiled machine in that day.
Amos 4:12-13 apply just as much today as they did then. Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel. Are you prepared to meet God? Has God been gently prodding you with problems trying to get your attention? Have you been blowing Him off or have you returned unto Him? As the time of His return comes closer, I fully believe that we will see more times when He tries to get our attention. Let's return to Him while there is light and not wait for the darkness to surround us.
Revised 28 March 2005
There was some expected and actual negative feedback about the above posting of mine. Some said that attributing the earthquake and tsunami to God was wrong and there was no evidence to back it up. Some didn't like the thought of a God that could do something like that. I just wrote what I felt I was supposed to write.
Then, today we have another great earthquake in the same area of magnitude 8.7. I fully realize that another earthquake in the area was expected to finish distributing the stress shifted by the first earthquake. The first was the day after Christmas. This one was the day after Easter. Coincidence? You'll have to be the judge. A normal magnitude earthquake could happen anywhere at any time. But two big ones right after the two most important Christian holidays of the year in the same general area. Looks to me like God really is trying to get our attention. Has He gotten your attention yet or will He have to work harder?